Last night I finished reading Ann Linnea’s Deep Water Passage: A Spiritual Journey at Midlife, and this morning I chose Anne LaBastille’s Woodswoman to read next. These are both books by women who accomplished amazingly difficult things in their lives. Linnea was the first woman to circumnavigate Lake Superior in a kayak, and LaBastille’s book is about her solitary life in the Adirondack Mountains, in a cabin that she built herself. These stories helped me to elevate my thinking out of the local, mundane, stinky-freezer-level, and up to the psychic, spiritual, and symbolic nature of what this journey is about for me.
At this point, I have lived in the rig for a bit. I‘ve figured things out, cleaned, and organized enough to appreciate the amazing grace in my life that permits me to make this journey. And honestly, I’m tired of feeling like a clumsy novice, who breaks stuff every day, lurching from one disaster to the next.
I’ve been staying in northern New York State. I spent a few days at Hamlin Beach State Park, working in the rig and walking by the shores of Lake Ontario, but one really hot day, I went swimming, and being immersed in the lake was pretty magical. The large waves were rolling in to the shore in rhythmic sets. I’m a salt-water girl, used to swimming in the ocean, but I loved this freshwater lake swimming!
I also got to spend one night near Sodus Point, with a friend, Penny, and her family, whose property borders an apple orchard. Paul and Chloe took me out for a Jeep tour of the orchard, and we shared a ginger gold apple right off the tree! We had a lovely visit: great company, dinner, laundry and S'mores, and it was totally dark and quiet for sleeping that night.
Afterwards, I drove south a bit, to the Ithaca area, to Robert H. Treman State Park, where you can swim in a natural swimming hole under a gorgeous waterfall. I’ve been swimming there every afternoon! The hiking is also pretty amazing. I went out on Monday to walk The Gorge Trail. But my iPhone’s health data revealed that I’d walked up the equivalent of 20 flights of stairs in the first half mile. And, I have always hated stairs! After walking a mile and a half that day, I turned around and started back, my thighs were trembling with exhaustion. Not knowing what was ahead of me on the trail, I felt safer returning the way I’d come. There’s a way that the Rim Trail and Gorge Trail connect, to form a five-mile loop. I really wanted to walk the whole loop, but that was not the day.
Yesterday morning, I set off, knowing that if I needed to, I could again turn around and retrace my steps at any point. My friend RJ bought me a set of Exerstrider Nordic walking sticks, and I used them for the first time. The poles made such a huge difference! My posture was better, and I had support for my balance, as well as the security of knowing that if I tripped, I wouldn’t go tumbling down into the gorge. I liked hiking with them very much, and I was able to complete the entire loop, despite having a bum knee, and a once damaged-and-repaired hip! My phone data indicated that I climbed the equivalent of 25 flights of stairs, as well as hiking the five miles. I hadn’t considered how it would work, but the poles took a bunch of the pressure off these old arthritic joints.
I haven’t hiked much in years, but I do love it. And I am beginning to remember that this body can still do some impressive things, as long as I go along at my own pace, and stop to breathe or rest when I need it. I am shucking off the sedentary-city-pavement-Metrocard-mama I’d become, and it feels great!